Is Atheism Irrational?

In a recent interview, Alvin Plantinga suggests that if, as atheists claim, materialism is true, our beliefs, including the belief that God does not exist, are unreliable. The real reason for the popularity of atheism amongst those who should know better is that refusing to believe in the existence of God is, as Peter Hitchens agrees, simply a choice  – and not a particularly rational one – made by atheists because they don’t want God interfering with the way they live.

The whole interview is well worth a read:

Thomas Nagel, a terrific philosopher and an unusually perceptive atheist, says he simply doesn’t want there to be any such person as God. And it isn’t hard to see why. For one thing, there would be what some would think was an intolerable invasion of privacy: God would know my every thought long before I thought it. For another, my actions and even my thoughts would be a constant subject of judgment and evaluation.

Basically, these come down to the serious limitation of human autonomy posed by theism. This desire for autonomy can reach very substantial proportions, as with the German philosopher Heidegger, who, according to Richard Rorty, felt guilty for living in a universe he had not himself created. Now there’s a tender conscience! But even a less monumental desire for autonomy can perhaps also motivate atheism.

Atheists force cancellation of Operation Christmas Child

A “perturbed parent” – one parent, by the sound of it – has convinced fellow atheists in the American Humanist Association that giving Christmas presents to poor children in the Third World is tantamount to proselytising: the AMA has threatened to sue a school for taking part in Operation Christmas Child.

By preventing the giving of these Christmas gifts, atheists are engaged in their own twisted brand of evangelism: they are ramming home Richard Dawkins’ cheery view that in our universe there is “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” Surely there must be some parents “perturbed” by that?

From here:

A South Carolina charter school has canceled its annual Christmas toy drive after a group of self-described humanists complained that the project violated the U.S. Constitution and accused them of bribing children to convert to Christianity.

Renee Mathews, the principal of East Point Academy in West Columbia, S.C., said the annual Operation Christmas Child project was halted because the American Humanist Association threatened to sue the school.

“We received a letter saying we had to cease and desist immediately or they would take legal action against us,” Mathews told me.

[…..]

[T]he American Humanist Association decided to intervene on behalf of a perturbed parent.

“The boxes of toys are essentially a bribe, expressly used to pressure desperately poor children living in developing countries to convert to Christianity, and are delivered with prayers, sermons, evangelical tracts and pressure to convert,” read a letter the AHA sent to Mathews.

The AHA said a public school cannot affiliate itself with a group like Operation Christmas Child without violating the Establishment Clause.

 

Atheist mega-churches

From here:

It lookAtheistMegachurchesed like a typical Sunday morning at any mega-church. Hundreds packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational sermon, a reading and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God.

Dozens of gatherings dubbed “atheist mega-churches” by supporters and detractors are springing up around the U.S. after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year. The movement fueled by social media and spearheaded by two prominent British comedians is no joke.

On Sunday, the inaugural Sunday Assembly in Los Angeles attracted more than 400 attendees, all bound by their belief in non-belief. Similar gatherings in San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities have drawn hundreds of atheists seeking the camaraderie of a congregation without religion or ritual.

[…..]

Jones got the first inkling for the idea while leaving a Christmas carol concert six years ago.

“There was so much about it that I loved, but it’s a shame because at the heart of it, it’s something I don’t believe in,” Jones said. “If you think about church, there’s very little that’s bad. It’s singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?”

In the spirit of Richard Dawkins, who regards himself as a “cultural Anglican”, these atheist churches have adopted the aesthetic of Christianity while discarding the truths that produced the aesthetic. For the most part, Western Anglicanism has done much the same thing.

Such a fraudulent, self-indulgent wallowing in feelings whose significance have been robbed of all meaning and to which one is not entitled, is an interesting testimony to the foolishness of a movement which claims to be entirely rooted in rationality.

Atheism to be taught to Irish schoolchildren

So says the headline of an article in the Guardian. Rather than base the curriculum on the premise that something doesn’t exist, an endeavour that is patently absurd – like, to borrow a well-worn saw from atheism, running a school whose founding principle is that fairies don’t exist – the course is actually an outlet for the silly books of atheism’s evangelists.

The question is, once the children have been introduced to the idea that there is no God and that they live in a universe where, as Richard Dawkins puts it, “there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference”, what is to prevent them growing from self-absorbed little stinkers into solipsitic adults who trample on anyone who is weaker because they care for nothing and no-one but themselves? The answer is: nothing; and that is what will bring on the howling wilderness.

In a historic move that will cheer Richard Dawkins, atheists in Ireland have secured the right to teach the republic’s primary schoolchildren that God doesn’t exist.

The first ever atheist curriculum for thousands of primary-school pupils in Ireland has been drawn up by Atheist Ireland in an education system that the Catholic church hierarchy has traditionally dominated.

The class of September 2014 will be reading texts such as Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality, his book aimed at children, as well as other material at four different primary levels, according to Atheist Ireland.

Up to 16,000 primary schoolchildren who attend the fast-growing multi-denominational Irish school sector will receive direct tuition on atheism as part of their basic introduction course to ethics and belief systems.

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal rules that atheism is a creed entitled to protection

From here:

Atheism is a creed deserving of the same religious protections as Christianity, Islam, and other faiths, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ruled in a new decision.

“Protection against discrimination because of religion, in my view, must include protection of the applicants’ belief that there is no deity,” wrote David A. Wright, associate chair of the commission, in an August 13 decision.

The ruling was spurred by a complaint from self-described secular humanist Rene Chouinard, who was opposing the District School Board of Niagara’s policy regarding the distribution of Gideon bibles.

[….]

Three years ago, in a protest move, Mr. Choinard, a Grimsby, Ont. father of two school-age children, offered to similarly distribute the Atheist text “Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children.”
When, as Mr. Chouinard expected, the board rejected his offer, he took his case to the Human Rights Tribunal, alleging that the school district has “discriminated against them … because of creed.”

A creed is a formal statement of beliefs, something that today’s anti-theists would claim not to have; they don’t believe anything, rather, they rely on evidence and reason. At least, that is what they would have us – believe. It is nonsense, of course since even atheists believe in the efficacy of reason and evidence.

In spite of its compulsive grovelling before the altar of political correctness, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has correctly identified atheism as a creed, a system of unprovable, a priory beliefs that have to be taken on faith.

It also highlights another compulsion: Christendom’s determination to hasten its own demise.

A monumental tribute to unbelief

From here:

On June 29, the group American Atheists will unveil a 1,500-pound granite bench engraved with secular-themed quotations from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and its founder, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, among others, in front of the Bradford County Courthouse in Starke, Fla.

One of the risibly fatuous inscriptions in this slab of nihilism is by Madalyn Murray O’Hair:

An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty banished, war eliminated.

Atheists rarely tire of telling us that they don’t need to believe in anything since reason has supplanted belief. And since, as Dawkins tells us, our genes are selfish, as long as Ms O’Hair lived close to a hospital she would have had little reason for building any more. And why does an atheist believe poverty should be banished so long as he is rich; or wars eliminated so long as they are elsewhere?

It would appear that Ms. O’Hair adhered – rather dishonestly, since it borrows so many of its ethical presuppositions from Christianity – to the religion of Humanism.

You can't work here, you'll upset the atheists

From here:

A graphic designer is suing a hotel after claiming he was turned down for a job there because he is a Christian.

Jamie Haxby said he felt ‘victimised and persecuted’ after allegedly being told he could not design adverts for the Essex venue due to his faith.

Mr Haxby, a regular worshipper at his local church, says manager Celie Parker apologised for inviting him to the interview after discovering he was a committed Christian.

He claims he was then told he would not be considered for the role as his beliefs could upset atheists working there.

With rich new veins of material like this, it’s a shame Fawlty Towers is no more.

Unless reduced to penury – a hitherto unlikely scenario, but you never know – I would not want to run a hotel. But if I did, upsetting atheists would be a condition of employment.

An atheist delusion

When a person dies, there is little that is more fatuously stupid than saying that the person will live on in the memory of those who loved him. A few months ago when I attended a funeral at a Diocese of Niagara church, that is more or less what the priest told the mourners: no mention of the Christian hope of resurrection at all. If it were not for the inconvenience of having to recite the liturgy, I suspect he would not even have mentioned God.

The priest in question, while appearing to enjoy the pomp and pageantry his office affords, gave a passable impression of a functional atheist who hasn’t yet come out; after all, he wants to continue to collect his salary. For an evangelical atheist who has to try and make sense of mortality, it’s even worse: the memory that lives on is nothing more than the mechanistically meaningless firing of a collection of synapses. Nevertheless, that is how atheists – the champions of reason – choose to comfort themselves and their children when faced with death.

From here:

For Julie Drizin, being an atheist parent means being deliberate. She rewrote the words to “Silent Night” when her daughters were babies to remove words like “holy,” found a secular Sunday school where the children light candles “of understanding,” and selects gifts carefully to promote science, art and wonder at nature.

So when she pulled her 9- and 13-year-olds together this week in their Takoma Park home to tell them about the slaughter of 20 elementary school students in Newtown, Conn., her words were plain: Something horrible happened, and we feel sad about it, and you are safe.

And that was it.

“I’ve explained to them [in the past] that some people believe God is waiting for them, but I don’t believe that. I believe when you die, it’s over and you live on in the memory of people you love and who love you,” she said this week. “I can’t offer them the comfort of a better place. Despite all the evils and problems in the world, this is the heaven — we’re living in the heaven and it’s the one we work to make. It’s not a paradise.”

This is what facing death and suffering looks like in an atheist home.

 

Atheists against Charlie Brown

Well, not exactly: atheists don’t want to be that offensive. It’s more like: atheists against the Christ who is represented in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

Unhappily for the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers though, Charlie Brown’s creator, Charles Schulz, was a Christian so it is no more possible to get Christ out of Charlie Brown than it is to get him out of Christmas.

Face it, atheists: you really are Charlie Brown haters.

From here:

An atheist group is accusing an Arkansas grade school of violating students’ constitutional rights by inviting them to a performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at a local church.

Students at Terry Elementary School in Little Rock were invited to a performance of the show at Agape Church. Teachers informed parents in letters home that a school bus would shuttle children to and from the show, which would be performed on a school day, KARK 4 News reported.

According to the station, the letter the teachers sent home indicates the play will be held on Friday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. at the church. Children attending will be taken on a school bus and will need to pay $2 to cover the expense of the bus rides, the letter states. Students are not required to attend the production, according to the school district.

One parent contacted the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers after receiving the letter.

“We’re not saying anything bad about Charlie Brown,” Anne Orsi, a Little Rock attorney and vice president of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, told KARK 4 News. “The problem is that it’s got religious content and it’s being performed in a religious venue and that doesn’t just blur the line between church and state, it oversteps it entirely.”